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Federal ban may mean you'll need a new A/C unit

Posted at 2:27 PM, Mar 09, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Summertime usually means your power bill goes up with all the air conditioning you need. This year, you might have to spring for a whole new unit!

"As of January 1, 2020, the government, the EPA has phased out R-22 Freon completely," said Stephen Gamst with Goettl Air Conditioning and Plumbing.

Freon is the gas almost everyone associates with air conditioning. Now it's banned.

The R22 Freon that's seemingly been around forever is bad for the ozone.

Most units built after 2010 are okay -- they don't use that freon. But if you have an older unit, it'll cost you.

"Air conditioners range anywhere from $10 to $20,000. It just depends on the one you pick," said Gamst.


There is another option: your A/C guy can drop-in a freon alternative. But Gamst says it's not as efficient.

"It doesn't work as well. So if your air conditioner used to blow 50 degrees, when you put in the drop-in it might blow 53. You lose a few degrees out of the vents," said Gamst.

While it may seem like a cheaper option, it's one you could regret. As temperatures climb over 100 degrees, you may find yourself kicking on the A/C more often. That could translate to a higher electric bill.

"The same components are operating and pulling the same power as before. But not putting in as much cold air. Therefore taking longer to cool the home," said Gamst.


Before hiring an expert to check your unit for R22 Freon, be sure to do your homework.

"Always hire a licensed contractor for any HVAC repairs or re-installation of a new unit. Verify their license on the board's website or contact our office," said Jennifer Lewis with the Nevada State Contractors Board.

The board recommends getting three bids, that way you have a better idea of what the job will truly cost you.

"If you are having a new unit installed, building permits will need to be pulled. Ensure that your contractor is providing evidence of that, before they begin the work," says Lewis.

It can all seem overwhelming, but Stephen says it's important not to feel pressured.

"At the end of the day, you don't have to get a new air conditioner," said Gamst. "But it's better if you do."